Freeman Dyson and the Postdoc Cascade

in Drawing Theories Apart

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2005 | ISBN: 9780226422664
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226422657 | DOI:
Freeman Dyson and the Postdoc Cascade

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Feynman diagrams first made the move from Feynman's disappointing Pocono presentation to physicists' lecture halls and research notebooks thanks to the efforts of his young colleague, Freeman Dyson. By early August 1948, Dyson had spent intense time working face-to-face with both Feynman and Schwinger, talking in detail about their rival methods. Through his toil, he had managed to demonstrate the mathematical equivalence between Schwinger's and Feynman's formalisms. Dyson submitted his paper to the Physical Review in October 1948. Drawing on his knowledge of Wentzel's field-theoretic formalism, which had so impressed Hans Bethe the year before, Dyson demonstrated how to cast both Feynman's and Schwinger's approaches within a consistent field-theoretic framework. Dyson's pair of articles became a guide, thereby enumerating carefully the step-by-step rules for drawing Feynman's new diagrams and explaining how their bare lines were to be translated uniquely into the mathematical elements of scattering amplitudes.

Keywords: Feynman diagrams; Freeman Dyson; Physical Review; field-theoretic framework; formalism

Chapter.  24429 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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